Prey classification by Portia fimbriata, a salticid spider that specializes at preying on other salticids: species that elicit cryptic stalking

Authors

  • Duane P. Harland,

    1. Department of Zoology, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand
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    • School of Biological Sciences, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 9QG, U.K.

  • Robert R. Jackson

    1. Department of Zoology, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand
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Abstract

Portia fimbriata from Queensland, Australia, is an araneophagic jumping spider (Salticidae) that includes in its predatory strategy a tactic (cryptic stalking) enabling it to prey effectively on common sympatric salticids from other genera. Using standardized tests in which only optical cues were available (prey enclosed in small glass vial within large cage), the reactions of P. fimbriata to 114 salticid species were investigated. Except for Myrmarachne spp. (ant mimics), all salticids tested triggered cryptic stalking by P. fimbriata. This included not only sympatric, but also allopatric, salticids. The salticid on which P. fimbriata most commonly preys in nature is Jacksonoides queenslandicus, but cryptic stalking was triggered by salticid species with considerably different appearances, including beetle mimics, species with unusual body shapes and species with a wide variety of camouflaging markings. Portia fimbriata was also tested with lycosid, clubionid, theridiid and desid spiders and with flies and ants, but none of these arthropods triggered cryptic stalking. Optical cues used by P. fimbriata for discrimination between salticid and non-salticid prey are discussed.

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